So this is the last weekly discussion for a while. They’re taking a rest and next week a brand new feature will make its debut, one I’m fairly excited about. However, for now let’s talk about breaks in gaming. Not limit breaks, because that’d be just odd and also lazy word association. Instead, lets take a look at series that probably need to take a bit of a break at this point.
Whilst it can be annoying when your favourite franchise takes a break before bringing you the next game, it’s often just what the series needs. Take the new SSX that we’re starting to see footage of in the new developer diaries. It looks absolutely fantastic, but I think the reason that there’s so much excitement surrounding it is that EA let the series have a rest for a while. If they’d just pumped out another one on schedule there likely would have been little buzz, and they wouldn’t have had a chance to get the series back to the point where it feels special.[drop]So what do I think needs to take some time off? Well Halo for one. I absolutely adore Halo but we’ve had a new game for the last three years, and now there’s rumours of an HD remake of the original Halo coming this year as 343 Industries first entry into the franchise. However, I’d honestly like to see it take three or four years off and come back feeling fresh and exciting.
Unfortunately we’re not likely to see that given how many copies Halo is still capable of selling. If a game is still selling by the bucket load then why rest it? I think many of us would like to see Call of Duty (CoD) or FIFA take a break to fully reinvent themselves. Take some time off, try some new things, rebuild the engine and come back bigger and better than ever. However, those are titles that still sell millions of copies on release, so why bother?
Well, it’s probably worth bothering, since they’re not going to continue to sell like hotcakes for forever. Take CoD for example. Yes, it’s hugely dominant right now. In fact it’s dominant in a way that I don’t think any game has ever been before. That doesn’t mean the popularity is eternal though. It will still start to fade at some point, and by the time it does it may be too late to rescue it. With the way that Activision seem to be focusing their business more and more on their one superstar series, they need to reinvent it now. It’s possible that the creation of Sledgehammer Games was an attempt to do that without resting the series, but with them moving over to assist on this years release that’s looking less likely now.
So what would you like to see take a break? Do you think agree that CoD needs a break? What about other yearly franchises, like sports titles? How about Kit-Kats? Should they take a break? And yes, that was a terrible joke, but who can resist? More seriously, do you feel that it’s possible to reinvent and reinvigorate a series without taking a break at all?